REVIEW: Entry (Auckland Fringe) – Theatre Scenes: Aotearoa New Zealand Theatre

[Experiment in Empathy] 

Access is an interactive, durational artwork efficiency introduced by Hamish Annan. 

Created in collaboration with Katie Burson and Rob Byrne the piece invitations the viewers to each witness and expertise an array of feelings.  

The piece is fashioned from a number of easy components: two chairs are set dealing with one another from reverse ends of a rectangle marked out by white tape on the wood ground; two flood lights set on the diagonal solid their mild throughout the chairs; and two units of directions taped to the partitions present a construction to the expertise. Annan takes one chair, a glass of water on the ground anticipating the bodily toll of the work, and the viewers are scattered across the 4 sides of the rectangle trying in. 

The directions record the emotional states the viewers may elicit from Annan (Aggression, Happiness, Lust, Concern, Grief, or Disgust) and point out that so as to take action the viewers member should merely step into the rectangle, sit on the empty chair, and identify the specified emotion. 

Between interactions Annan is in a impartial state, poised calmly on the chair, his face a masks of stillness. Then, as an emotion is known as, Annan transforms in an expression of that emotion, typically silently, typically in wracking sobs, and even in howls of laughter. All is wordless. The face and the physique contorting or slackening in flip to convey the fullness of those states. 

It’s an uncanny expertise to face silently and witness the outpouring of those feelings. It’s stranger even to develop into conscious that the design of the piece has resulted in a number of doable focal factors and that you just your self could also be being watched as you react to the second. The viewers participant turns into as eye-catching as Annan; you can not assist however search some type of response and that means of their face as they develop into the article of aggression, lust, or worry. Equally it’s inconceivable to not register the emotional responses flickering throughout the faces of the opposite viewers members. 

The viewers, even in making an attempt to passively view the work, is pulled in and made a part of the expertise. In consequence every state turns into greater than witnessing, it’s a communal development, an experiment in triggering the empathetic responses of a bunch. 

For such a transferring and curious piece it’s a pity that it’s not staged in a extra publicly accessible venue with fixed foot site visitors and thus the chance to achieve a bigger viewers. Studio One Toi Tū, whereas a really adaptable house, doesn’t provide the regular movement of potential members which might enable Entry to essentially shine. Hopefully this work might be carried out once more. 

Notice: Since attending the efficiency final evening the social context of shared emotion has shifted following the demise of Queen Elizabeth II. An awesome outpouring of grief and disappointment, but in addition anger and aid, has welled up right here in Aotearoa New Zealand and world wide. The work will maybe tackle new that means as viewers members and members carry a recent sense of each communal and public expressions of emotion. Providing the chance to weep collectively or chuckle collectively stands out as the tonic many want on this time.

Entry performs Studio One Toi Tū and Ellen Melville at numerous instances 4-11 September, 2022 as a part of Auckland Fringe.